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Samsung DMFC circa 2006  (Source: Samsung)

Samsung DMFC circa 2007  (Source: AVING USA)
Samsung's slimmer fuel cell design can power a notebook for up to a month

Toshiba and Samsung have been working on ways to rid customers of traditional lithium-ion batteries used in notebook computers. Both companies are looking towards fuel cells and the technology is very promising.

Samsung displayed a version of its Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) in late December that was capable of powering a Q35 ultra-portable notebook eight hours a day for a month. The fuel cell, which contained an energy density of 650Wh/L and total energy storage of 1,200Wh, was contained in a rather large box that was nearly as wide as the notebook and roughly twice as tall.

Samsung has made great strides to perfect its DMFC and recently showcased an even smaller design at its company showroom. Samsung appears to have shaved a few inches off the device in length/width/height. The DMFC now looks to be roughly the size of a couple of extended batteries stacked side by side.

Samsung reports that the fuel cell is still capable of operating a notebook for up to a month.

Despite the advances being made in fuel cell technology, we are still a few years away from fuel cells being commercially viable.

"Though we still need to solve ‘going smaller and sturdier’ issues, I think that we have made a technical quantum leap in commercialization," said SAIT VP Dr. Hyuk Change in November. "Within 2~3 years, the fuel cells including those for laptops currently in development with Samsung SDI will be widely used as it is forecasted to acquire a stable market with lower price lines."



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You know
By S3anister on 8/13/2007 2:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
I have to say, i'd be much more scared having a potentially volatile fuel cell pack ontop of my legs, or even just near me, than a Li-ion battery, even if it does power the laptop for a month.




RE: You know
By Rhayader on 8/13/2007 3:06:45 PM , Rating: 3
While methanol is flammable, it is stable at a fairly wide temperature range (-142F to 149F), and when packaged properly is certainly no more dangerous than a typical butane lighter. Lithium Ion batteries have proven to be much more dangerous (hence the many product recalls). And, since there is still a battery in between the fuel cell and the PC (the fuel cell acts as a battery charger), a machine like this wouldn't be any safer or more dangerous than your typical laptop.


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